Monday, February 28, 2011

Productive Email Management: Getting Things Done in Your Inbox

Email is big part of our everyday workflow. Getting hundreds of emails daily is a normal thing these days. Different people, different contexts, different actions make even harder to stay on top email.

Step 1: Emptying your Inbox

In an interesting free paper by Getting Things Done author David Allen, the classic GTD approach is applied to email:

  1. regularly empty your inbox
  2. file everything that you don’t need to take an action on
  3. complete the emails that will take less than 2 minutes
  4. file those that you are waiting someone else to take action on in a folder: waiting-for
  5. file those that take you longer than 2 minutes in a folder: action

Now your inbox should be empty.

A very similar approach is presented by Merlin Mann with “Inbox Zero” over at google:

Step 2: Being in Control - Review your Folders

After getting your inbox to zero or emptying it you still have a lot left to do: Check the folders you have created regularly:

  • manage and complete the emails in your “action” folder
  • keep the mails in your “waiting-for” folder up-to-date
  • keep emptying your inbox :)

If you are a gmail user you might like our article on getting productive with gmail priority inbox.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What is Todo Management All About?

We have been thinking about what todo management actually want to achieve and instead of writing a post about it, I thought a tag cloud could actually illustrate our ideas quite well.

Tag Cloud of Todo Management Connotations, Ideas and Goals

(you can click on any of the links to get to a more or less relevant page/article/video on that topic)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gmail Priority Inbox: Getting Important Things Done First

If you get a lot of emails and have trouble deciding which emails to read and reply to first, google mails new priority inbox might be the right thing for you:

It sorts your emails into two categories (you can even set more) important and everything else by following criteria that are displayed as seperate blocks beneath each other:

  • emails you read
  • emails you respond to
  • emails you mark as important or unimportant

You even get a new navigation item called “priority inbox” so that you can switch to you standard inbox any time.

To turn it on, just go to your settings –> “priority inbox” tab. You can adjust your settings any time.

What About “Getting Things Done” and “Inbox Zero”?

If you are familiar with Merlin Manns “inbox zero” concept or David Allens Getting Things Done methodology, you might be wondering, whether “priority inbox” actually keeps you from getting things done.

Both todo management strategies rely on you not having to decide what to read and what not, but just going through your emails or todos and either archiving, delegating, making an action out of it or just doing it. The goal is to get your inbox empty.

Priority Inbox on the other hand seems to put emphasis on certain emails instead of others. This “everything else” part could not get enough attention and eventually grow over time until becoming unmanageable. Thus being an annoying stress factor in your todo management strategy.

Have you tried gmails “priority inbox” and what are your experiences?

I will try it out the next couple of weeks and report on mine :)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Todo Management Tools: Top 14 Feature Requests by Users

[via lifehacker und Gmail Blog]

As we develop our own task management tool, we of course ask ourselves what features it should incorporate. I stumbled upon two articles. Here is a summary of the features that a perfect todo or task management tool should incorporate:

  1. task lists should vary in appearance (depending on context and time)
  2. the tool should be available on many platforms
  3. the tool should be available on the web as well as an app on mobile devices
  4. it should keep all installations in sync
  5. tasks should be highlighted by a user defined color scheme
  6. mails can be transformed into tasks
  7. tasks can be deferred, so that they are not seen until a certain point in the future
  8. tasks can be captured in a fast and intuitive way
  9. tasks should have enough room for notes
  10. the tool should give the user the power to adjust the settings, so that everyone feels comfortable using the tool
  11. there should be hierarchies between tasks and projects
  12. users should be able to get notifications and reminders
  13. users should be able to share tasks / task lists with others
  14. tasks can be repetitive

Of course there are many more feature wishes out there. We will be on the lookout for more inspiration for our tool.

Feel free to post your feature wishes, ideas and suggestions in the comments.

Best Mobile To-Do List Managers

[via lifehacker]

I would say that many people who use web apps as to-do managers also have smartphones and want to use to-do managers on their mobiles. Plenty of to-do manager users may even only use them on their smartphones.

Lifehacker asked its readers and here are the results:

  1. Remember The Milk (22%)
  2. Others (20%)
  3. Google Tasks (18%)
  4. Things (16%)
  5. Astrid (16%)
  6. Omnifocus (9%)

It would be interesting to know, how many people rather use paper and pen when on the road. Probably paper would outscore Remember The Milk.